2017 Grade-Level Reading Week in Denver, CO

As part of NAHRO’s partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading (GLR), we encourage NAHRO members to learn about and engage with GLR on opportunities to improve the educational outcomes of the children living in your affordable housing programs. Below is information on the 2017 Grade-Level Reading Week being held in Denver, Colo. This is an excellent chance to interact with local communities and leaders on educational opportunities.

The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading is coming home to Denver in June 2017. In many respects, Denver, Colo., is the birthplace of the GLR Campaign. In June 2012, 14 communities were recognized with the coveted title of All-America City for their focus on grade-level reading. And 124 communities signed on as Charter Members of the GLR Community Network.

Since then, The GLR Network has grown to include over 300 communities in 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. These local campaigns are supported by 2,300 local organizations and 250+ state and local funders, including 130 United Ways.

From June 13-14, local, state, and national funders that support early literacy will gather for the 2017 Funder Huddle. Attendees will have an opportunity to meet other funders in the grade-level reading community, share challenges and successes, learn from and with each other, and collectively drive toward bigger, stronger and better results.

From June 14-16, hundreds of civic and community leaders, public officials and educators from across the country will come together for the 2017 All-America City Awards, America’s oldest and most prestigious community recognition. Each year, the All-America City Awards are given to communities that exemplify outstanding civic accomplishments. This year, the National Civic League and the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading will recognize communities that have made measurable progress for low-income children on the key drivers of early reading success. REGISTER today!

HUD Publishes PIH Notice on Limiting Payments to Influence Federal Transactions, Anti-Lobbying, and Disclosure Requirements

On March 3, HUD published PIH-2017-04 (HA) titled “Limitations on Payments to Influence Federal Transactions for PIH Programs and PHA Anti-Lobbying Certification and Disclosure Requirements.” According to this notice, PHAs are required to submit the following, if they have received over $100,000 in federally appropriated funds:

  • Certification of Payments to Influence Federal Transactions (Form HUD-50071) – for PHAs to certify that they have not and will not make prohibited payments from federally appropriated funds; and
  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL) – for PHAs that have used non-federally appropriated funds for influencing or attempting to influence executive or legislative branch personnel in connection with new funding, renewal funding, changing policy, or changing legislation.

PHAs are prohibited from using federally appropriated funds for lobbying activities. PHAs’ contributions to trade associations are not lobbying activities under this notice, nor do the certification and disclosure requirements in this notice apply to PHA contributions to trade associations. The requirements of this notice apply to all PHAs, including MTW agencies.

The notice also outlines record retention and other responsibilities of both PHAs and HUD Field Offices.

Additional information on the notice will be provided to NAHRO members in upcoming coverage.

The full notice can be found here.

Senate Confirms Dr. Ben Carson as HUD Secretary

Earlier today, the United States Senate confirmed Dr. Ben Carson as the 17th Secretary of the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. He was confirmed on a vote of 58 to 41. NAHRO has invited Secretary Carson to speak at the 2017 NAHRO Washington Conference. NAHRO has also invited the Secretary to listen to the concerns of PHAs and RDAs as part of the countrywide listening tour he mentioned during his confirmation hearing. We look forward to working with him.

[3/3/17 Edit – HUD’s press release can be found here.]

UPCS-V Demonstration Update (February, 2017)

Earlier today, HUD held a conference call for participants of the UPCS-V Demonstration. The call provided an update of what was occurring with the Demonstration and the next steps in the process.

There are 234 agencies that are participating in the UPCS-V Demonstration. Of these, four agencies are currently doing UPCS-V inspections. Fifteen additional agencies are scheduled to begin doing UPCS-V inspections in April 2017. HUD has been gathering feedback from PHAs to improve the usability of the inspection software and has identified 39 items to improve in the software. Additionally, the protocol and decision trees are being updated from feedback from PHAs. HUD has noted that there are a limited number of electronic devices that will be available for the Demonstration and is prioritizing PHAs who need them and do not have them.

During the call, HUD noted two areas where they were looking for additional feedback. First, HUD would like feedback from landlords. They would like to hear from PHAs about landlord groups in their area. They are also looking to conduct a landlord event–possibly a call or a conference. Second, HUD will hold two IT vendor days in Phoenix, AZ and Jacksonville, FL on April 5th and April 7th respectively. They are encouraging PHAs to attend these events with their software vendors so that HUD is able to “facilitate a conversation.”

Finally, HUD shared this timeline during the update:

  • Past;
    • First PHAs completed inspections of record in January;
    • UPCS-V 2.0 released;
    • Updated software;
    • Updated decision trees;
  • Present;
    • Expand adoption of UPCS-V to larger number of PHAs;
    • In-person and WebEx training;
    • Incorporating weekly updates from weekly trainings;
  • February – June;
    • Increase the number of inspections for statistical valid sample;
    • Understanding potential challenges for PHAs;
    • Release of next version of protocol of refinement of decision trees with PHA input;
    • Continuous software user experience;
    • IT Vendor Day;
  • June – January (2018);
    • Working towards a full online training tool; and
    • Continue training PHAs and evaluating data collected from the Demonstration.

Any questions or feedback can be given to HUD at OED@hud.gov. In the past, HUD has posted a recording of the call and the accompanying slides on their OED website, within a few weeks.

New Presidential Executive Order on Regulatory Reform Agenda

On Friday, February 24, the White House published a new executive order titled “ENFORCING THE REGULATORY REFORM AGENDA.” The executive order is meant to create a framework to implement and enforce regulatory reform. The order directs agencies to create regulatory reform task forces to evaluate existing regulations to repeal, replace, or modify.

The executive order has six sections. A brief summary of each section follows.

Section 1 – Sets the policy of the United States to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens.”

Section 2 – The head of each agency (except those receiving waivers) must  designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO) within 60 days of publication of the order. The RRO is to oversee the implementation of the regulatory reform agenda and report to the agency head.

Section 3 – Each agency is instructed to create a regulatory reform task force with an RRO serving to chair each task force, unless another official is designated by the agency head. Entities staffed by multiple agencies are also required to create regulatory reform task forces. The task forces’ objectives are to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to repeal, replace, or modify. They should also seek input from entities affected by the regulation and provide a report to the agency head within 90 days detailing the agency’s progress at implementing the regulatory reform agenda and identifying regulations. At a minimum, the task forces are to identify regulations that fall into the following categories:

  1. eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;
  2. are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
  3. impose costs that exceed benefits;
  4. create a serious inconsistency or interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
  5. rely on data or methods that are not publicly available or lack sufficient transparency; and
  6. derive from past executive orders that have been rescinded or substantially modified.

Section 4 – Each agency is required to measure its performance in performing the tasks outlined in the executive order.

Section 5 – The OMB Director may issue a waiver to those agencies that publish few regulations and must publish which agencies receive waivers.

Section 6 – Miscellaneous provisions ensuring that the order does not have unintended adverse effects.

NAHRO commends the administration’s goals to streamline those regulations that are outdated, unnecessary, ineffective, or impose costs that exceed benefits and looks forward to working with HUD’s regulatory reform task force to achieve these goals.

The full order can be read here.

HUD Guidance on HOPWA Permanent Supportive Housing Grant Renewal

Last week, HUD published a Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) notice (CPD-17-02) that announces renewal application requirements and procedural guidance for eligible grantees with expiring HOPWA Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) competitive grants.

Eligible renewal applicants are grantees with grants set to expire between June 1, 2017 and May 31, 2018. These grantees must demonstrate that the remaining balance on the current HOPWA PSH grant would be insufficient to fund activities beyond May 31, 2018. The notice lists 33 grantees that are eligible for renewal in FY 2017.

HUD expects to renew all eligible expiring HOPWA PSH competitive grants initially funded by appropriated funds from FY 2010 or earlier. If it turns out that appropriations for FY 2017 do not provide adequate funding for the renewals needed, HUD will contact all applicants.

The deadline to submit an application is March 31, 2017.

HUD Releases Guidance on Smoke-Free Rule

On February 15, HUD Released Notice PIH-2017-03 “HUD Guidance on Instituting and Enforcing Smoke-Free Public Housing Policies.” The Notice provides regulatory guidance to PHAs regarding the implementation of the “Instituting Smoke-Free Public Housing(members only) Final Rule, issued in December, 2016. PHAs have 18 months after the effective date of the final rule to implement smoke-free policies. The effective date has currently been pushed back due to the Administration’s regulatory freeze.

The Notice describes required PHA plan and lease amendments, flexibilities afforded to PHAs while creating their smoke-free policy, signage requirements, funding, and designated smoking areas. The Notice further discusses tools that PHAs may use to enforce and monitor their smoke-free policies. These include graduated enforcement approaches, intensified compliance monitoring, lease terminations or transfers, and evictions.

The final rule also requires PHAs to provide reasonable accommodation when needed. Although reasonable accommodation cannot include allowing an individual to smoke in a restricted area, reasonable accommodations can be made if individuals have trouble accessing designated smoking areas. Reasonable accommodations must be made on a case-by-case basis.

Lastly, the Notice encourages PHAs to work closely with residents in the development on the smoke-free policies, and provides resources for best practices, smoking cessation, and PHA and resident training.